October 15th, 2013 by RoyReed

La Tour Sainte-CécileI’ve just come back from an amazing trip to Albi in south-west France. We stayed in a really nice little hotel called La Tour Sainte-Cécile about 200m from the cathedral. We were really lucky and got upgraded from a single room to a suite and the owner (a very nice man called Bertrand) went out of his way to make us feel at home.


Albi is a truly amazing city with many fabulous buildings, but the highlight is the cathedral which was built by the Cathars starting in 1282 and ending over 100 years later. Originally the building had just a single nave but in the late 15th century, after the persecution of the Cathars was ended, an elaborate rood screen, choir and chancel was added, along with a massive and elaborate porch at the south entrance. Either side of the arch into the tower is a large mural depicting the Last Judgement dating from about 1500. The rest of walls and ceiling were painted just a few years later by artists from the Emilia region of Italy with the most elaborate series of frescoes.

You can see a lot more photos of Albi, some of the local bastide towns and the Millau viaduct on my Flickr account.

All Saints Church, Margaret Street

September 26th, 2013 by RoyReed

About 100 yards north of Oxford Street in London lies one of the best examples of Victorian Gothic architecture you’ll ever see. It would be easy to miss this church, even though it has one of the highest spires of any church in London. If you don’t look up and see the spire when you stand outside, you could walk straight past. All Saints church is set back from Margaret Street in a small courtyard. Once inside, a world of beauty opens before you.

All Saints interior

It was designed by architect William Butterfield in 1850 and completed by 1859. Inside, the walls are covered in spectacular tiled murals. Designed by Butterfield, they were painted by Alexander Gibbs and manufactured by Henry Poole and Sons. The floor tiles are a bold geometric design by Minton. The chancel vault is a deep blue field of stars and the reredos by William Dyce (later copied and replaced by Ninian Comper in the early 1900s when the original had became blackened by the London air) depicts the life of Christ ending at the vault with Christ in Majesty.

If you seek a few moments of peace from the hustle and bustle of London you should seek out All Saints and step inside.

You can see a 360° panorama tour of the church in the main part of my website.

Update – 1/11/2013: All Saints Margaret Street have added the 360° panorama tour to their website.

Two New Sites

July 19th, 2013 by RoyReed

Lisa CarterI’ve had two new websites ‘go live’ this week. One for Weaverbird, “an international independent executive search consultancy with an exclusive focus on finding talented digital and technology leaders”. And the other for Lisa Carter, a chartered clinical psychologist. Neither site is my design – I’ve worked with two different design agencies on these projects.

WeaverbirdThe Weaverbird site uses HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery, while the Lisa Carter site is based on WordPress and uses a child theme based on picochic. The theme is responsive, but it took quite a lot of tweaking to get all the responsive levels looking good with the new design.

Photos on ‘Daybreak’

July 16th, 2013 by RoyReed

ITV’s ‘Daybreak’ featured some of my photos of the church of St Magnus the Martyr this morning. They had a short item on the local London news section mentioning the 60th birthday of the National Churches Trust. They’ve created a new website – The UK’s Favourite Churches – to mark the occasion.  Boris Johnson has named St Magnus as his favourite church in London.

St Magnus the Martyr Church

No payment of course, but at least I got an on-screen credit.

The Crazy World of Inkjet Printers (3)

June 27th, 2013 by RoyReed

Well it’s happened again. Just three months out of warranty and the print head on my Deskjet 3070a has died (no it’s not repairable or replaceable) and with a batch of spare ink cartridges I’m stuck with buying yet another HP printer. At least the people who I spoke to at HP technical support were as polite and helpful as they could be under the circumstances. Eventually I got passed on to sales and they offered me a big discount on a new Photosmart 5520 with free delivery which arrived less than 12 hours after I placed the order. This has a two year warranty, so expect another post on this topic in about 25 months time!

St Briocus Church, Lezant

June 7th, 2013 by RoyReed

Yesterday I photographed two more churches (Lezant and Lawhitton) in my ongoing project to record all of the churches in Cornwall. Inside Lezant was an amazing slate tomb and monument to the Trefusis family.

The memorial is made up of a chest with backplate and end wall panel. Carved in relief on the backplate, inside a border of strapwork, are three shields. The first shield displays the arms of Trefusis quartered with Tresithney; the centre shield shows the crest and arms of Trefusis impaling Coryton; and on the third shield the arms of Trefusis quartering Milliton. Some slight traces of colour remain to show how the tomb might have originally looked..

At a right-angle against the south wall is a panel divided into two parts by a border showing an angel’s head and a pattern of a trailing vine. In the top half is the figure of Thomas Trefusis kneeling on a cushion before a prayer pedestal with an open book on it. He wears a ruff with his doublet and hose, while behind him his wife kneels wearing traditional gown and headdress. In the lower half of the panel are carved the kneeling figures of two sons and two daughters, the second daughter already deceased, as shown by a small skull.

On the top panel of the chest, which is badly cracked and worn, are two verses, one of them in Latin. The front panel is decorated with a design of four scrolls each with a Latin phrase. The end panel has a verse and simple incised pattern.

This marble monument faire though it be,
Trefusis, yet is farre unfit for thee;
Thou meek and mild, incidious unto none;
This base as beynge, if traced out of earth;
Thou generous by descent, of ancient birth;
And which is most, this fraile and ever wasting;
But thou eternal now and everlastinge.
Only herein this tomb seems like to thee.
As this, so thou in Church still lovest to bee.
The soules of those whose bodies thus ar spent,
seated above the starry firmament
have gaynd a state more permanent and sure;
let him (that hopes to have his house indure
for ever) build it there, where death nor fate
shall alter or determine his estate.

The Church of St Peter and St Paul, Chaldon

April 24th, 2013 by RoyReed

Chaldon ChurchNot much work yesterday, so I went for a drive to see the church of St Peter and St Paul at Chaldon in Surrey. It’s famous for its 12th century wall painting showing the Ladder of Souls and the Seven Deadly Sins.

The lower half of the mural depicts the torments and punishments of the wicked while the upper half shows the judgement and salvation of souls. In the centre is a ladder which people either climb to heaven or fall from to hell. The face of Christ appears in a cloud at the top. To the bottom right is the tree of knowledge with the serpent and sinners in the torments of hell. At the bottom left sinners are boiled in a cauldron. The top right panel shows the ‘Harrowing of Hell’ where Christ drives his staff into the devil’s mouth. The top left shows the weighing of souls.

A full description of the painting can be found here.

And you can see a 360° panorama of the interior of the church here.

Flash, HTML5 and Kite Flying

April 9th, 2013 by RoyReed

dt04 - team hairpinA long time ago I animated all of the International Sport Kite compulsory figures using Flash. These animations became the de facto standard for competition kite flying – in fact some of the judges wanted them to be the official standard instead of the static diagrams. When Jobs and Apple decided to drop support for Flash on the iPhone and iPad it meant that people using those platforms couldn’t view the animations when they were in the field.

Well, it’s taken some time, but I’ve now added HTML5 versions of the animations to all 123 pages (there are only 99 figures, but some the dual-line team figures are shown for 3, 4 and 5 kite teams). The conversions were done using Google’s Swiffy. It’s not a perfect conversion as for some reason the buttons to turn the grid and figure lines on and off didn’t work (so I’ve dropped them on the HTML5 versions), but at least all the fanboys will now be able to see how the figures are meant to be flown.

I case you want to look, you’ll only see the HTML5 versions of the animations if your browser isn’t Flash enabled.

Edit 12/04/2013: I’ve added HTML5 functionality to my Kite Trick animations as well.

Italian Properties

March 18th, 2013 by RoyReed

Italian PropertiesI’ve just finished a new website for Italian Properties who have six holiday villas situated north of Lucca near Coreglia Antelminelli which lies in the beautiful Garfagnana region of Tuscany. I first made a website for them nearly 13 years ago to a design done by an illustrator friend. It was his first website and the fact that it has lasted all that time without looking too out-of-date is a testament to how good it was for the time.

The new site makes extensive use of FloatBox – the best of all the Lightbox clones.

Kevin Ayers – R.I.P.

February 21st, 2013 by RoyReed

Kevin AyersI just heard on the news that Kevin Ayers has died. Kevin was one of the founders of the band Soft Machine in the 1960s. They were the first band I ever saw live (at the Country Club in Belsize Park in 1969). He left Soft Machine later that year and began his meandering solo career writing beautiful songs that not many people ever heard. John Peel said that Ayers along with Syd Barrett were “the two most important people in British pop music. Everything that came after came from them.” I couldn’t disagree.

I actually met him once – he was very nice to me.